There is No God in the Temple

Porcelain, Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene 13” x 128” x 1”

BY SHREEVATSA NEVATIA Published Dec 31, 2022 15:45:38 IST
There is No God in the Temple Image courtesy: threshold art gallery

ONE DOESN’T KNOW for sure as to why Rabindranath Tagore penned the line “oi mandire kono debota nei (there is no god in that temple)”, but believers, and maybe even some rationalists, will agree that it does make for provocative writing on the wall. On display at Delhi’s Threshold Art Gallery until 20 December, Shaurya Kumar’s exhibition, There is No God in the Temple, asks questions that deal with our faith. As a result, they are discomfiting at times, but, as this work shows, they also illuminate.

It isn’t easy to make art out of absence. Several poems and paintings have been either too abstract or too mawkish with their subject missing, but we find in Kumar’s installation, a cleverness that teases our curiosity. The letters might say what they do, but their type font is covered with the same threads that devotees knot around shrines across the country.

So, though the writing might seem fatalistic, Kumar still seems to care for the fabric of sacredness. The artist also forces us to feel for Nandi’s plight. Left forlorn by his master’s exit, he, like us, is perhaps now asking: Is he expected back any time soon?


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